For a family of six or seven take a quart of white beans, wash them in several waters, and put them into two or three quarts over night. In the morning, when it will be easier to cull out the bad ones than before they were soaked, pick them over and boil them until they begin to crack open, then put them into a brown pan such as are made for the purpose. Pour upon them enough of the water they were boiled in almost to cover them. Cut the rind of about a pound of salt pork into narrow strips, lay it on the top of the beans and press it down so that it will lie more than half its thickness in the water. Bake several hours, four or five is not too much. Where a brick oven is used it is well to let beans remain in it over night. If they are baked in a stove or range more water may be necessary before they are done.
Many persons think it a decided improvement to put in a large spoonful or two of molasses. It is a very good way.
Those who object to the use of pork can have a very good dish of beans by substituting two table spoonfuls of nice beef drippings and adding two teaspoonfuls of salt.
To heat over baked beans, put them in a spider with a little water heat them slowly at first and cover close. If they are too moist remove the cover and stir them often."
From The Young Housekeeper's Friend 1862
I made this for a picnic. I'm not a fan of molasses but used it anyway.
Modern Translation: Use the modern directions for quick soaking the beans by boiling them in water for 2 minutes, removing them from the heat and covering them for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans. In fresh water, simmer them until they started to crack, about 1 hour. Drain the beans but save the water. Put the beans in a bean pot or casserole dish with 2 tablespoons of molasses, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons of beef drippings and enough of the cook water to cover them. Bake at 350 for 3 hours.
They turned out great. I served them in small bean pots and they looked great.